Job cut announcements in January increased to its highest level in 10 months as employers in the financial and technology sectors launched restructuring efforts, a report released Thursday showed.

Announced layoffs reached 82,307 in January, a 136% surge from December’s 34,817, according to data released by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, which helps companies with the offboarding process for employees. It was the highest monthly total since March 2023.

On a yearly basis, announced job cuts overall fell 20% from January 2023.

Employers in the financial industry announced 23,238 job cuts, more than double the number from a year earlier.

"It is also an election year, and companies begin to plan for potential policy changes that may impact their industries. However, these layoffs are also driven by broader economic trends and a strategic shift towards increased automation and AI adoption in various sectors, though in most cases, companies point to cost-cutting as the main driver for layoffs," said Andrew Challenger, senior vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

The financial and technology sectors announced the most job cuts in January, the firm said, with employers most frequently "restructuring" and the closure of plants, units or stores as reasons for layoffs.

The earnings reporting season that got underway in January saw a number of companies announce jobs cuts, including United Parcel Service unveiling plans to shed 12,000 jobs.

Tech sector job reductions were also announced by Amazon, Alphabet and Microsoft.

In a memo published Jan. 30, digital payment heavyweight PayPal Holdings Inc. announced a 9% cut of its workforce, with President and Chief Executive Officer Alex Chriss citing a priority to “right-size” the company.

(Reporting by Amina Niasse; Editing by Aurora Ellis)